CanadaUS Delegation Makes Case Against New Border ID Requirement

first_imgSecurity at the Canada-U.S. border must be carefully guarded, but the economic stability and viability of Eastern Canada and the northeastern U.S. must also be protected, say members of a joint delegation responding to an American proposal for passport-type identification cards. Nova Scotia House Of Assembly Speaker Murray Scott and Opposition Leader Darrell Dexter are among members of the Canada-U.S. delegation who are in Washington today, Feb. 1, to voice concerns over the U.S. proposal that would require travellers to carry the passport-type ID cards when they cross the Canada-U.S. border. The provincial and state officials say the ID requirement will be costly and will cause economic damage to the travel and tourism industries in both countries. Members of the binational delegation include the officers of the Eastern Canadian Provinces Committee of The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference. The officers are: Bill Doyle, a U.S. senator from Vermont; Bev Harrison, Speaker of the House of Assembly in New Brunswick; Mr. Scott; Robin Schmimminger, an assemblyman from New York; John Martin, a senator from Maine; and William Cusano, a member of the Quebec National Assembly. Following their recent meeting in Halifax, the legislators wrote Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Condoleeza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, noting the compelling need to maintain border security. “At the same time, however, our economic security is dependent upon the smooth and efficient flow of goods and people across the border.” Legislation in the U.S. requires the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan that makes a passport, other document, or a combination of both mandatory in order to cross the border. Members of the binational delegation say the integrated economies of the border region and the frequent trips made by families, students and working people underscore the need for a “seamless” border. The U.S. and Canada are each other’s largest trading partner. More than $1 billion worth of goods cross the Canada-U.S. border each day. The delegation is scheduled to meet today, Feb. 1, and Thursday, Feb. 2, with officials from various U.S. senate and congressional committees on homeland security, as well as key officials for border and transportation security. Meetings are scheduled with: Elaine Dezenski, deputy assistant secretary for policy and planning, Border and Transportation Security, Department of Homeland Security; Senator Susan Collins, chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Senator Patrick Leahy, ranking member of the Committee’s Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations; Congressman John Sweeney, vice-chair, Transportation, Treasury and HUD Appropriations Subcommittee; Congressman Peter King, chair, Homeland Security Committee; Jeffrey Shane, under secretary of Transportation Policy, Department of Transportation; and Jill Hochman, Department of Transportation Office of Interstate and Border Planning.last_img read more